Sept. 2, 2010
CHICAGO - UIC 2010 Invite Game Notes
The University of Memphis volleyball team will look to build on its championship showing at the Belmont Invitational in the opening weekend of the 2010 season with a trio of matches at the UIC 2010 Invite, hosted by Illinois-Chicago, September 3-4. The Tigers will face host UIC at 7 p.m. on Friday, followed by matches against Northern Illinois (12 p.m.) and Kennesaw State (5 p.m.) on Saturday.
Memphis went 2-1 with wins over Belmont and Miami (Ohio) to win the 2010 Belmont Invitational last weekend. The Tigers dropped the season-opener, 3-1, to Jacksonville State, but quickly bounced back on day two with a five-set win over the host, followed by a 3-1 win over Miami to seal the tournament title. Sophomore outside hitter Altrese Hawkins hammered 18 kills in each of the first two matches and wrapped her weekend up with 17 kills vs. MU to earn the tournament's MVP honors. Right side hitter Marija Jovanovic and libero Christine Bach were both named to the All-tournament team. The tournament title is the first for Memphis since winning the MSU Bulldog Club Invitational in 2008.
Last Time Out
Memphis 3, Miami (Ohio) 1
Miami (Ohio) (1-2) 24 31 20 22
Memphis (2-1) 26 29 25 25
Sophomore outside hitter Vesna Jelic
recorded Memphis' first double-double of the year with 10 kills and 14 digs, and Altrese Hawkins
struck for a match-high 17 kills as the Tigers completed a day-two sweep at the Belmont Invitational via a 3-1 win over Miami (Ohio).
Memphis got a complete effort on the offensive end behind its top three hitters. Marija Jovanovic scorched the RedHawks defense with a 13 kills and a .400 attack percentage on 30 swings. The sophomore committed just one error. Hawkins hit .389 in the match. Tiger setter Hajnalka Molnar handed out a 35 assists.
Led by freshman Katie Meyer's career day at the net, Memphis made 13 rejections in the contest. Meyer finished the match with eight total blocks, including two solos and six assists. Cassidy Hawkins and Jovanovic added four total blocks each. Bach led all players with 17 digs.
UIC, returns six letterwinners from last year's team that finished 16-18, split matches versus DePaul and Northwestern to finish runner-up in the Chicagoland Challenge in the opening weekend of 2010. The Flames pulled out a 3-2 win over DePaul to opener the year, but dropped a three-set decision to Northwestern. Senior outside hitter Casie Sullivan earned all-tournament honors after posting 20 kills, hitting .278 and averaging 3.12 digs per set. Sophomore outside Kelsey Safranek led the club with 25 kills.
All-Time Series vs. the Flames
Memphis leads the all-time series versus Illinois-Chicago, 5-2. The two program's have not met on the volleyball court since the 2004 season when the Tigers swept the Flames in the Memphis Invitational. Memphis has bested UIC in five of the last six meetings.
Scouting Northern Illinois
Under ninth-year head coach Ray Gooden, Northern Illinois went 14-16 in 2009 and welcomes seven letterwinners back for 2010. NIU got out to a quick start in the season's opening weekend. The Huskies went 4-0 to win the NIU Invitational. The 4-0 start is the best since 2003. Northern Illinois, who defeated Chicago State, Oakland, South Dakota and College of Charleston, was led by Lauren Wicinski's 63 kills (4.20 k/s). Mary Kurisch hit a scorching .446 with 44 kills. Setter Kristin Hoffman averaged 11.71 assists set as the Huskies hit .304 for the weekend.
All-Time Series vs. Huskies
Memphis is 2-1 all-time versus Northern Illinois. The Tigers captured their first win of the 2009 season against the Huskies at the Lady Hilltopper Invitational. Prior to last year's contest, the two school's had not met since 1976.
Scouting Kennesaw State
Kennesaw State went 17-12 in 2009, but lost eight players. Head coach Karen Weatherington added 10 newcomers, including five freshmen. Kennesaw State went 2-1 in opening weekend with wins over Nicholls State and South Alabama. The Owls lone loss came to C-USA rival Southern Miss. Junior Sabrita Gulley and freshman Sara Metroka both earned all-tournament honors. Gulley struck for 5.11 kills per set (46 kills) and hit .336, while Metroka set 11.33 assists per game. Gulley also picked up 3.00 digs per set. Junior outside hitter Alyssa Lang was solid in her KSU debut, striking for 4.00 kills per set and making 4.12 digs per set. The Owls limited opponents to .141 hitting in the first three matches. Libero Turea Jones led the club defensively, with 49 digs-an average of 5.44 digs per set.
All-Time Series vs. Owls
Saturday's meeting between Memphis and Kennesaw State will be the first in the series history.
Who's Got Next?
Memphis will open its home season next weekend, September 10-11 with the 2010 Memphis Invitational. The Tigers will host Air Force, LaSalle and Tennessee State in the four-team tournament. The U of M will battle in-state rival Tennessee State in its home opener on Fri, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. Day two of the tournament will feature a doubleheader versus LaSalle (1 p.m.) and Air Force (7 p.m.).